Hey Dick Cheney– FYI, Military Families Depend on Food Stamps to Survive
In the wake of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed ‘defense’ cuts, former Vice President Dick Cheney lambasted the Obama administration for choosing programs of social uplift over militarism, even though the president has done no such thing.
Cheney appeared (via phone) on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and blasted Obama, who regressives have unaffectionately dubbed the “Food Stamp President.”
“I have not been a strong supporter of Obama, but this is really over the top,” Bush’s Number Two said of the proposed cuts. “He would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
First of all, perhaps Obama would prefer to spend on keeping children from going to bed hungry, but his actions in office are those of a servant to state and corporate, not people, power. The odious farm bill he signed earlier this month slashes $8.6 billion from food stamp funding over the coming decade, even as a record– and growing– number of Americans are living in poverty. Meanwhile, under the guise of slashing unpopular corporate welfare for Big Agriculture, the bill actually replaces direct cash payments with increased crop insurance subsidies to the tune of $6 billion.
Second, there’s a strong element of hypocrisy in Cheney’s remarks. For someone who claims to care so much about “supporting our troops,” he sure did play fast and loose with their lives while waging a war of choice that turned into one of the greatest failures in the history of US foreign policy. A chickenhawk among hawks, Cheney was the most influential among a cabal of neocons who conned America into a very unnecessary– many say illegal– war of choice in Iraq that had been planned since George W. Bush’s earliest days in office– well before 9/11.
Some 4,486 American volunteers, who signed up to fight to defend freedom and to bring justice to 9/11’s perpetrators, were sacrificed on the altar of US hegemony and corporate profit— much of it going to firms directly connected to Cheney himself. Instead of defending freedom, our brave men and women in uniform unwittingly ushered in a decade in which between 100,000 and half a million Iraqis died violently, an authoritarian government fond of torture and other human rights horrors rules over a ruined, divided and viciously violent nation in which al-Qaeda has managed to mount a comeback, and Iran, which is still most likely next on America’s hit list, has emerged stronger and bolder than before.
In addition to the dead, a million War on Terror veterans have suffered injuries. Hundreds of thousands suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, lost limbs, lost family and friends, lost jobs, lost hope. An increasing number of them are showing up in our nation’s prisons and homeless shelters. All for a war that any honest reader must admit was utterly unnecessary.
This is an important part of Dick Cheney’s legacy of “supporting our troops.”
Finally, while invoking the old “guns or butter” dichotomy, Cheney ignores the fact that plenty of America’s hired guns can’t afford enough butter. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamp) redemptions at military grocers have quadrupled to more than $100 million over the past six years. It is also estimated that at least 900,000 US veterans receive SNAP assistance each month. Many of these vets are disabled, injured or suffer from PTSD and other ailments resulting from their service in conflicts that have enriched Cheney and his right-wing ilk who would slash “entitlements” to the bone if given the chance, service and sacrifice be damned.
It’s the same old story, all over again. Politician spews patriotic platitudes of support and gratitude but forgets the vets as soon as ‘Mission Accomplished.’ But the real mission is convincing an American citizenry purposely conditioned toward martial profligacy that the best way to “support our troops” is to stop sending them to kill and die for the accumulation of power and profit, and to provide them with everything they need to successfully beat swords into ploughshares.